Friday, May 28, 2010

Hey, you know what, this team ain't playing half bad right now.

The Cubs concluded their series with the Dodgers with a 1-0 win yesterday.  And you know what?

In the last 4 series the Cubs are 3-0-1 and have an over all 7-3 record during this 10 game stretch.

They aren't dominating anyone, but there are some nice positives see in this.  First, this is the first difficult stretch for the Cubs this season, which concludes this weekend against the Cardinals.  These are primarily good teams in or near first place right now and even if the Cubs get swept this weekend, they will still have a winning record during that stretch.

Another positive...the offensive is still not clicking and they are still winning games.  Derrek Lee has started to make much better contact with the ball, but Fukudome, Byrd and Soto have all cooled off considerably. And Ramirez still stinks right now.

This offense should become better.  And if Fukudome does have his 2nd half slump, Nady should be able to take his place just fine in right field.

A month ago I said that this team had 1 month to turn things around.  Well, the Cubs are still under .500, but are starting to make a move back up to respectability.  This team has been given a stay of execution.

The trade deadline is 2 months away and outside of getting a relief pitcher, the Cubs are really not going to be buyers this year.  But if this team falters in the next month, they could become sellers.

Luckily, this division (which is currently led by the Reds) is in good condition to be taken by any of the the top three teams.  The Reds are going to have a hard time maintaining a lead.  The Cardinals are hitting about as well as the Cubs right now.  But the Cubs have the most depth of any of those teams.

Anyway, no one should be traded away right GM should be fired....Lou should stay on a manager...

But now that I have said all this, it's probably about time for this team to tank again and in two weeks will be calling for some heads to roll.


Yes...the Cardinals come to town this weekend.

They have had some struggles on offense this year.  Albert Pujols has been a bit more fact, the Cubs have two players with a higher OPS than Pujols so far this season (Soriano and....holy crap...Tyler Colvin?).

The Cubs have scored more runs than the Cardinals this year, which seems impossible...but it is true.

But the Cardinals have pitched better...both in their rotation and in the bullpen.

Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter have been better than anyone in the Cubs starting rotation and Jaime Garcia is second in the league in ERA this year.  Kyle Lohse has been their only start who has struggled to this point...but he now has been placed on the DL.

The Cardinals bullpen has been great as well and Ryan Franklin is pitching at an all-star level right now as their closer.

This team will be tough to score upon this weekend...but at the same time, it is possible that the Cubs starters could shut down the Cardinal offense.

It will be important for the Cubs to try to get out to an early lead in these games.

The Matchups:

Today:  Randy Wells vs. Chris Carpenter
Wells was great in his last outing against the Rangers.  He continued the Cubs starters' run of going deep into games by pitching 8 1/3 innings in Texas.  Carpenter was hit very hard in his last outing against the Angels.  Outside of that, he has had a very good season is likely going to be an all-star this year.  Last year Carpenter dominated the Cubs in 3 starts.

Tomorrow:  The Orca vs. Adam Ottavino
Ottavino is who is rumored to be taking Lohse's place in the rotation.  From what I can tell, this will be his major league debut.  He was the Cardinals first round draft pick in the 2006 draft.  Silva continues to have a very good season as he keeps gutting it out.  I know as well as anyone that he has been very fortunate to have a 6-0 record this year...but he has been an absolute trooper out there!

Sunday:  Ryan Dempster vs. ???
This would be Wainwright's spot in the it will probably be him.  Wainwright went 3-0 against the Cubs last year in 5 starts.  Dempster was great in his last outing...8 shutout innings.  Dempster has been fairly average against the Cardinals during his career.

This will be a tough series for the Cubs...the truth is...we shouldn't be too unhappy if the Cubs can win one game here.  If they win more...than it really gives us something to be positive about.